The adult film performer who tested HIV-positive finally spoke out Tuesday, calling for mandatory condom use in porn productions, improved testing for sexually transmitted disease and follow-up care for fellow performers.
Derrick Burts, 24, said he tested HIV-positive in October at the AIM Healthcare Foundation in Sherman Oaks after working in both gay and straight porn films for a few months. He had previously been identified only as “Patient Zeta.”
Producers of straight porn regularly check performers’ test results using a database maintained by the clinic, known as AIM, to clear actors for work.
Derrick Burts, who performed in straight films as “Cameron Reid” and gay films as “Derek Chambers,” said he was tested at the clinic Oct. 8, then received a panicked call from clinic staff the following afternoon, summoning him to the office.
When he got there, he said, clinic staff told him that he had tested HIV-positive. They wanted to perform a follow-up test and begin notifying performers he had worked with since his last negative test result Sept. 3. Those performers, he was told, would be placed on a quarantine list while they, too, were tested.
Derrick Burts said he gave clinic staff the names of about a dozen performers he had worked with in California and Florida in both gay and straight productions. The list included his girlfriend, who also works in the industry as a performer. He watched as clinic staff began scanning a performer database, notifying those he had named and placing them on a quarantine list.
The clinic has since said that none of the performers on its quarantine list tested positive. Derrick Burts confirmed that his girlfriend tested negative.
He said that when he returned to the clinic Oct. 23 to review the second test results, clinic staff told him that they had traced his HIV infection to someone he had performed a scene with whom they described to him as a “known positive.”
Although straight porn performers must show negative HIV test results before filming, the gay porn industry does not have the same restrictions, although condom use is typically required.
Derrick Burts said he asked who the performer was and clinic staff told him they could not reveal the performer’s name or gender due to patient confidentiality.
Clinic officials could not immediately be reached for comment Tuesday night. An attorney for the clinic was traveling outside the United States, according to an e-mail received from him earlier in the day.
Derrick Burts says he may have contracted the disease during a gay porn shoot in Florida. He said the performers used condoms during intercourse but not during oral sex.
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